About Me

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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quick Update

I forgot, with so much else going on, to update you on my foot. It's all better now. If you didn't know, I got glass in the bottom of my foot, little itsy bitsy slivers of glass, while cleaning. the consensus is that I shouldn't clean anymore to prevent this from happening again. However, that's not practical and, as you'll soon see, apparently not the real culprit.

So, I wrapped my foot in bacon, Neosporin, glue...pretty much anything I could find around the house. Everything helped a little, but the thing that seemed to trick was ichthammol. (Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it.) I'm back to walking fine.

However, yesterday at the playground I got a piece of wood that stuck all the way through my shoe and poked my foot. I also got a few slivers in my hands while moving things around and a cardboard cut too. Moving is hard work! But nothing I can't handle.

Added bonus: Jace just saw some Marines out the window and said, "Look! Marine Corps. What if it was Marine Chorus? Then they'd probably sing! La, la, la, la...." He's got a point!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life On the Run

OK, I'm not really on the run. I am, however, hiding out in a hotel. Our house is full of boxes and tomorrow they'll all be loaded on a truck and hauled to Washington. The kids and I have another week here in Georgia until we leave too. We were eating dinner tonight and I realized that next week we'll be eating dinner in South Carolina! Cool, huh?

But before we leave there's stuff to be done. Like laundry. That's what I'm doing now. We lucked out with a room near the laundry room. After last night, which I'll tell you more about in a minute, I put the kids in bed early and moved myself into the hallway to do laundry, pay bills, and listen to another session of the Schoolhouse Expo. Oh, and eat half a candy bar. Don't judge me.

So, more about last night...I intended last night to be a relaxing intro to life on the road with only one tub of toys, one room of space and all that fun stuff. We hadn't even been at the hotel for half an hour when Tyler jumped from the bed to the window seat and cut his head open on the sill. We stopped the bleeding but I wasn't sure if stitches would be required so we quick grabbed a bag of books (luckily we hadn't unpacked anything yet) and went to the ER.

(Side note: our insurance is infamous for saying that we need to be sure we call for authorization on the way to the emergency room or within 24 hours of going to ensure payment. I called and the call taker scolded me for not going straight there! I wish she'd been the one to answer when I called back today...I would have let her know that the ER didn't think they needed to rush, so the extra minute or two I spent on the phone with her didn't make a difference in Tyler's treatment. Buy, anyway...)

We spent 3 1/2 hours at the hospital. We read every book in the bag, most of them more than once. We walked. We talked. We had a vending machine snack. We walked and talked and read some more. When we finally saw the doctor all went well. He said he'd glue it up and send us on our way. Just before we walked out of the hospital Jace looked to me and admitted, "I think I should have remembered what you always tell me - that I shouldn't teach Tyler to do bad things because he'll try than and not do them right." I knew he was the first one leap from bed to window, but I hadn't seen it or said anything about it! Ah, the guilty conscious of my beautiful boy.

When all was said and done, I tucked the kids into bed just before 10:30! Jace and Gracie were all tired today, but both had a good day at school. Tyler and I had a good day at the house, while the packers finished up. They got done earlier than expected and we took a little nap together. Precious.

So, here we are...night two at the hotel. Putting the kids to bed early went decent. Tyler went right to sleep. Jace hit Gracie with a doll and Gracie kicked Jace in the face, but they are all snoring by bed time! Sigh.

With that, I've moved my clothes to the dryer and taken a seat on the infamous window seat and turned on Survivor. This is the life...maybe not the life, but a good life! I'm not saying to want to live on road permanently or anything, but for a week or two...well, that I'm looking forward to.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Man With A Plan

I was talking with my mom yesterday and learned about a scary blessing that happened recently with someone I used to go to church with. Long story, short...there is a couple who's son and his family live just down the road in a small town. The granddaughter asked if she could spend the night with Grandma one night. Her parents not only agreed, but decided that they'd stay the night too. That night their furnace exploded and their house, with all of their belongings, burnt.

There's no denying, at least in my mind, that God works in ways only He understands.

Although I haven't been through anything as frightening as my home blowing up, I have experienced God's hand in my life. One of the biggest ways He has moved me is the past three years.

Very shortly after I moved into our current home I felt like maybe we'd made a mistake. There were a few things I had on my list of wants, things way up at the top, that I didn't get in this home. And I started wondering if we should have bought a place "way out here," as everyone here says. Then I drove 2 hours a day for an entire school year to take Jace to preschool. I really questioned our decision then.

Rather than getting frustrated or down about my long drive to being a stay at home mom I consoled myself by remembering that God has a plan, and living in this not-so-thriving-whatever-the-opposite-of-metropolis-is city must be somehow part of His plan.

I think I figured it out, at least part of it...I'm sure there's more. See, at the very beginning of that first year here, at Jace's preschool, I met Kelly, who's son was in Jace's class. She pulled him out to homeschool him shortly after we met. But I'm guess that enrolling him in that school to begin with was also part of God's plan. We needed to meet somehow, right? Kelly happened to organize a mom's group. I started going and met some incredible women.

These incredible mama's supported me through a stressful pregnancy and exhausting first year with three children. We talked about faith, parenting, school, kids, education...life. We had play dates and ladies' nights. I think I only made one ladies' night, but the offer was there! I learned a lot and grew. Growing is always a goal of mine...so I'd call it a success!

At the end of the day, or of the past three years, I think the bigger picture is that I'm going to homeschool next year. I think maybe all of this was to bring me to a place where I'm willing to, and realize I'm able to, homeschool the kids. I wouldn't have gotten to this place without all I've learned through my mama's group. I think God's plan is working.

So, whether big or small...take notice of how God is at work in your life. And don't forget to give him a smile and a wink when you can finally way, "Oooohhhh. That's why we moved to Georgia and fought with gnats for three years. OK, then. But couldn't you have led me to this realization without three months of 3-digit temps? Yeah, you're probably right...I probably wouldn't have have picked up on more subtle hints." God likes smiles and winks.



Sending You Away

I'm sending you to another blog...but please come back! I just want you to read what Kris wrote about homeschooling parents. It's in her voice, but I think she speaks for me too. Cool, huh?

I haven't started homeschooling yet, technically. My two oldest are at a public school right now. But I have already heard or felt some of the things Kris talks about in her post. And I do remember stereotypes I held about homeschooling parents in the past. Even after I met a few, I considered them the exceptions...because they were normal and didn't judge me! Now I'm realizing that, like all stereotypes, mine were based on stories or fallacies or who even knows what. Thankfully, now they're broken and I know that homeschooling parents are made up of all sorts of people, just like public school parents. Gotta love that...variety is the spice of life!

So, enjoy reading Kris's post and I'll work on figuring out what sort of homeschooling parent I'm going to be. My guess? The same sort of public schooling parent I am now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not Me! Monday...Last Days Home

If you're not familiar with MckMama...go check out her blog! She's a bundle of energy fueled by faith and passion and her stories evoke every emotion. She covers a variety of topics so there's something for everyone....including her weekly Not Me! Monday posts.

What is Not Me! Monday? Well, it's a carnival of fun where we have permission to deny anything we're willing to (not) admit to the world! So, join in or get a laugh at everyone else's expense!

As for me...well, the week is off to in interesting start. Yesterday while I was sweeping and mopping I apparently stepped on some shards of glass from several months ago. That was the last time I broke anything. After finding that it's painful to walk with glass in your foot I didn't sit for the vast majority of the afternoon and evening. I didn't stick scotch tape, duct tape, and glue on my foot. I certainly did not put a slice of bacon on my foot. I'm not still wondering how I'm going to remove the last stubborn pieces. And, in light of all this, I'm not considering giving away all my clear glass and purchasing only colored glass from here on out so that it can be seen! Nor am I thinking about boycotting sweeping and mopping...obviously this is a sign that I shouldn't be cleaning, right?

Today I didn't run to Wally World for printer ink only to find that I purchased the wrong ink. I'm not going to go back to WalMart this afternoon to return the incorrect cartridge and get the right one. I live half an hour from WalMart...I wouldn't go there twice in the same day!

I haven't fed my children pancakes three times in the past week. If I had I would have a good reason...like we need to get rid of the syrup and pancake mix.

I'm not feeling overwhelmed by moving. I'm not sad to leave Georgia. I'm not excited to go on an exhausting road trip. I'm not going to be so very thankful to land on Grandma and Grandpa's door step in a few weeks.

In all honesty, this week and next are going to be full of things to deny! No doubt about it. I'm not sure if or when I'll take the time to report back on here, though...so be patient with me. And in the meantime, there are plenty of other denials to enjoy over at MckMama's!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bath Time

There are many enjoyable things about being a parent. This list is different for each parent, and might even change with the day. For me, though, there is one thing that rarely makes the list. Bath time.

I like that they occasionally get clean. But I don't like cleaning them.

I don't like the period of time where they cry while you pour water over their head. I don't know if all kids go through this or just mine. Jace and Gracie have moved beyond it, but Tyler is solidly there. I want him to simply put his head and and close his eyes. Is that too much to ask?

And I don't like leaning over the tub or kneeling beside it. It's not comfortable. I don't like water getting splashed everywhere.

And a new thing not to like...showers. Gracie has decided she wants to take showers, but she really isn't capable of getting clean. That means I get as wet as she does. It's just not fun for me.
I know some parents who love bath time and look forward to it. I liked it when they were infants and I could put them in the little tub in the living room or in the kitchen sink. Life was easier then. I'm looking forward to the time when they can all bathe themselves and I don't have to be involved. I've got a few years, I know.
There is one nice thing about bath time...cute kids!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Remembering Grandpa

Today we saw a Ford truck. It's not all that unusual...we do currently live in the South, where there is a 50/50 chance that the next vehicle you see will be a truck. (I just made that up - probably not true.) And Scott owns a Ford truck, so we not only recognize them easily but the kids get excited because they're little connections to Dada.

So, today we saw one and Tyler pointed it out. Gracie commented that we should call Tyler "Ford" since he gets so excited when noticing trucks like Dada's. I laughed and shared with the kids that I tried to get Jace's middle name to be Ford, but Scott wouldn't go for it! Then Jace asked where his middle name did come from. Good question.

Jace's middle name was my paternal grandfather's name. He passed away when I was 20, long before the kids were even thoughts...at least in our minds. The kids asked questions that I tried to answer and I shared stories of Grandpa. It was really nice. I don't think I'd ever done that before. I think I should do it more often.

Like now, with you...

Grandpa was a little scary to me. He was lovable, but gruff. Once you got past the exterior, though, he was a teddy bear. He had a cat named "Roll Over." He drove milk truck. He competed in team sawing competitions. He and Grandma has a chicken BBQ for the 4th of July every year and Grandpa ate hot dogs. He didn't like chicken. He gave wonderful hugs and always leaned down to his grand kids and pointed to his cheek and said, "Give me a smack." Everyone knew this meant to give him a little kiss on the cheek. Well, everyone except my little sister who actually smacked him! He was surprised, but then laughed.

When we went to Grandpa and Grandma's we had watermelon seed spitting contest and played kickball in the yard. We helped feed the cows and ate great food. I remember jumping rope and playing hopscotch too.

I'm glad we didn't give Jace "Ford" as a middle name, Grandpa's is so much better! And it'll give me a reason to share stories of my grandfather from time to time, which leads to memories of Grandma and my other grandparents, and all those people I love who aren't here to be a direct part of my kids' lives, but who influence them none-the-less. We miss you all...and smile at you while you smile at us.

How To Find Happiness

I've found myself reading about happiness (or lack of it) on people's facebook pages lately. I've commented on a few of them, but felt like maybe I should speak a little louder than a facebook status comment...like with a blog post.

I consider myself a joy-filled person. I embrace my life, with whatever challenges may be part of it. And I'm happy. If I had to sum up the secret to my happiness in one word, it would be perspective.

I'm a glass-half full kind of gal. I can't help but think that my positive nature helps secure my happy heart. There's a place in life for realism but there's also a place for idealism. I practice both in moderation, but focus mostly on what's good. And if something doesn't feel or look so great than I try to reframe it in a way that's a little rosier.

For example, on the subject of marriage...you hear people say that they are going to be stuck with the same person for the rest of their lives. If you think about marriage that way, it certainly doesn't appear to be the blessing it truly is. If you, instead, realize how lucky you are to be with only one person from here on out, the prospect of marriage is much more beautiful.

Another hot topic issue is that of being a military spouse and hearing about how hard it must be. Well, yeah...if I only ever think about how exhausting it can be to be both mom and dad and keep the kids spirits up and not think badly of my husband because he doesn't have to deal with the bad dreams, misbehaviour, or puke... Then yes, being a military spouse is tough and will seem like a huge drag that could eventually pull me under. If I instead look at my life as one of opportunity and excitement, then my job as a Navy wife isn't such a hardship. People are always saying, "I don't know how you do it." Well, here's how. I focus on the excitement of seeing my husband again after he's been away. The kids and I travel and write notes to or color pictures for Scott. We enjoy life, when Scott's here with us and when he's not.

So, if you find yourself unhappy or discontent...look at how you look at life. Happiness, in my opinion, is so much more about perspective than circumstances.

If you're interested in reading a little more on the subject, here's a link to another blog I read recently. I really enjoyed her take on finding peace. Hopefully you will too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Checking In

Hello everyone. I feel like I should post something. I'd been on quite the schedule of one or two posts a day. I know you must all be wondering if I fell off the Earth. Well, I didn't. As we all know, the Earth is spherical and you can't just fall off. I relearned this lesson this morning on the way to school.

The Gracie asked if we could listen to "that CD that rocks?"

Jace translated, "Yeah! Can we listen to Montgomery Gentry?"

"Why surely. I hardly ever turn them down."

After we yelled along, uh...I mean sang along with Now You're Talkin' we listened to a few others and then Back When I Knew It All came on. In case you don't know the song, there's a line in it that says "back when the world was flat and Mama and Daddy didn't have a clue." (Boy am I glad they didn't grab onto the second part of that line to dissect this morning. It's only a matter of time...) So, when Troy and Eddie sang the chorus Gracie laughed and said, "That's funny! He thought the world was flat!"

Jace piped up to explain, "There was a time, Gracie when people believed the Earth was flat. But everyone knows now that it's a sphere." And there ya have it.

Now that we all know I could not and have not fallen off the Earth...what have I been doing? Obviously I haven't been blogging!

Well, I've been making lists. Lists of things we need in New York, in DC, on the road, in various hotels. Lists of things to do before we leave the house and leave the state. Lists that can be checked off, lined out, crumpled up and tossed out. I like to feel accomplished. Lists help.

I've also written the Kral Chronicle, a family newsletter that I put together for my mom's side of the family. And I've been reading about homeschooling. It's still something that I'm excited about. And the kids are thrilled, which brings me great joy!

We were at the library yesterday and there were some girls there who are homeschooled. They were just visiting with each other and conversation turned to school. One of the other girls asked if Gracie went to school and she said, "Yes. I go to Grannie's Play Place. But next year mama is going to homeschool us." I couldn't resist smiling. I hope she still says it with such warm feelings in six months!

So, that's life on our front. Hope everyone reading this (and even those that aren't) are having a lovely week and have a wonderful weekend ahead!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Because I Can

A few weeks ago I realized that I carry Tyler from the van to the store quite a bit. I didn't remember doing that with the other two. After I thought about it a little, I realized that that's because I didn't! Jace was 2 years and 2 weeks when his little sister was born.
And Gracie was 2 1/2 years old when Tyler came along.

Anyone who's been pregnant, or watched a pregnant woman waddle, knows that those last few months of incubation aren't the best for carrying around 20 pounds of wiggling toddler. Scott and I have raised pretty independent children, anyhow. Between their do-it-myself attitude and my inability to even tie my shoes...I'm sure both Jace and Gracie were walking through the parking lot and into the store on their own (well, next to me, holding my hand) by the time they were two.

I was sharing this realization with a friend and she commented that I probably just baby Tyler more because he's my baby...and always will be. He is the youngest, that's true. But I don't think I baby him more. I think I cuddle him more at this age, because I can...physically. But I cuddle all my kids whenever they let me. And if holding them close is babying them...well, then, I baby them all.

Jace still enjoys his cuddle time with me and if he goes a few days without it he'll remind me that he needs a turn on the couch with me. I even mentioned to him one time that some day he would think he was too big to cuddle with me. The disbelieving look on his face was priceless. "Ut-uh. I'll always cuddle with you." I told him I'd remind him of that some day.

So, call it what you may...but I'm going to love my monkeys with hugs, kisses, and cuddles for as long as they'll let me. Because I can.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Out Of My League

(Mama) "You should really try to eat more veggies."

(Gracie) "I eat carrots! And avocados...those are good for you, right?"

"Well, yes, but there are a lot of foods that are healthier and will help you grow bigger and stronger."

(Gracie and her friend Madeline who is only 2 months younger.)

"But you tell everyone that I'm already tall. And I'm strong. Look at my muscles. (Shows me those almost-5-year-old guns.) And I'm flexible. Today I practiced stretching and I could reach past one ball to where the other ball was. That's how stretchy I am! And I can put my leg behind my head. Plus I had peaches and potatoes for lunch."

"Did you eat them?" (I know that Scott is rolling his eyes and shaking his head that Gracie was putting her leg behind her head at preschool, but I chose to ignore that in hopes that it would go away and stay focused on the battle at hand.)

"I tried the potatoes, but I didn't like them."

"So, you haven't actually eaten any veggies today?"

"No, but I'm already big and strong."

"True, but eating veggies will not only help you get even bigger and stronger, but will also help your brain grow and think well."

Jace pipes in. "I don't eat all my veggies and I already have a big brain. And it's going to stop growing* next month anyway. So it can't get any bigger. And I think pretty big already, don't you think so, Mama?"

(Jace in an outfit fit to protect him against any flying things while he plays outside.)

"Well...yes." And I took a bit of my veggies.

*I thought I'd written about this already and was going to link you to that post for explanation, but now I can't find it! So, I'll explain here. Jace learned in his book about the human brain (because every 1st grader should have one of those!) that the brain reaches full size at age seven, which is how old he turns next month. When he first read this he was very concerned, until I assured him that he would still be able to learn plenty, but that the size of his brain wouldn't get larger...he'd just have more stuff written on the pages of the notebook kept in there. I didn't actually use the notebook thing...he wouldn't have fallen for it anyway! I'm out of my league!


Sometimes there are things that frustrate me. For example...
When you and I are waiting across from each other at a red light and we both have our blinkers on to turn left...don't beep at me when you go straight and I've started to turn. Really, don't.

When you've been parking in between both lanes in the u-shaped driveway of preschool all year, so that no can get past you and I've tolerated it without complaining, don't come in and ask me to move when I've been drawn into a conversation and you can actually get around me because I parked all the way to the right...there's a whole other lane. Do you not know the width of your vehicle?

Things like that. I bet you get bothered too.

There are also things I just don't like. Play dough. I don't know why...it's just not on my list of fun things. Go ahead and cut paper into strips and itty bitty pieces and glue those pieces all over another piece of paper. Have a blast! Color, paint, draw. Be my guest. But please don't want to play with play dough. God only knows why it drives me nuts...but it does! It's an unexplained aversion that I hope doesn't scar my children for life.

There are also little pesky things that I think might drive me bonkers. But with these things, I'm bothered that I'm bothered. The two most recent examples...Gracie and Jace. Well, they aren't the bothers. Ha ha! It's the way the talk. Jace has taken to replacing the first letter of words or only using the first syllable.

"Jace, do you want strawberry or raspberry jam?"

"Jace, can you please pick up all your Nerf darts?
"You want me to pick up the derf darts? The werf warts? The berf barts? (laughs) Sure, I can pick up the ferf farts!"

And Gracie baby talks. She has for years and I've always wondered why. Scott and I are not baby-talk kinds of people. We never talked that way around her...she just started it! But now she's added a high voice to her babble and uses it constantly in her play!

Are you annoyed? I bet you are...I bet just reading this you're irked a little, well, when you're not laughing at me. See, these things are annoying, but really...why am I so bothered?


It's enough to drive me nuts!

Any sage advice out there? I'll take it...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who Needs Disney?

Edited to add a link to Tonya's Field Trip Friday post. I'm technically not a homeschooler yet and technically it wasn't a field trip, but a mini-vaca. I still added a link to her post to my blog...and I think it counts! Hope you think so too!

Last Thanksgiving Scott and I took the kids on a wonderful family vacation to Walt Disney World. We all had a really great time and I've dreamed of going back ever since. We've also gone to the Georgia Aquarium and to Sea World. Our kids are lucky little buggers!

Yesterday, though, I took the kids to St. Augustine. We went on a short cruise in the waters just outside the city - where we saw dolphins frolicking, had hot dogs for dinner (I had a Caesar salad), and shared a chocolate sauce with ice cream for dessert. Then we got up this morning and enjoyed six hours walking, playing and learning all around town.

We started at the Castillo de San Marcos*, left and got drinks and a snack. Then we went back to the fort to see them fire a cannon. After that we played at the playground until lunch, and again after lunch. The back and forth was all over town. At each intersection Jace and Gracie took turns answering, "Left, right, or straight?" We saw all sorts of stores and talked about the names of them, what they sold, and why we couldn't go in. It would have been fun for me to roam all the stores on my own, but not with all those little hands. The couple minutes it took to pick three postcards at the Castillo de San Marcos gift shop was stressful enough!

While we were walking around Jace told me how much he enjoyed walking around the town, rather than having to hurry with a car. We stopped and listened to a few different street musicians. We read historical markers. We really enjoyed the day. Just before we left Jace told me that this was his favorite vacation that we've taken. I reminded him of all the others and he stuck with this one! He loved it! Woo hoo! And Gracie chimed in that she plans on taking her kids to St. Augustine every month because she thinks they're going to like it so, so much!

I love my kids. And I love that they enjoy learning and road-tripping as much as their mama! I still want to go back to Disney and don't think any of them would turn down the trip, but we'll also be doing lots of educational walk-abouts. It's a good life.

*Just a note that this week (April 17th -25th) is National Park Week and admission to all National Parks is free. Go enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I don't know if this will be frowned upon my my family, but I hope not! I was reading a post about cooking with love on Feel Good Eating a day or two ago. I was reminded of how I used to cook with mom from time to time. I remember a few times making galumkis with mom and Jody (my big sis). I commented about this on the post and was asked what galumpkis are. Therefore, this post.

I think everyone should know what a galumpki (gah luump key) is. In fact, a lot of people probably already make something like it but just don't have a cool name like galumpki! It's a stuffed cabbage roll. See, nothing too crazy. My mom's mom was from Lithaunia. There are other strains of Eastern European blood mixed in my veins too, but I think the galumki recipe is Lithuanian. In the end it probably doesn't matter so much because there are stuffed leaf recipes all over that region of the world, so if you don't have your own and don't like our family's...keep trying. It seems like something oughta click for you!

Ours, though, is simple and tasty. And, without further ado, here it is...

Grandma's Galumpkis

1 head cabbage
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can tomato soup
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

Cut out the core of the cabbage. Place the head into boiling water. Peel off the leaves as they become tender and loosen off. Cut the rib out of each leaf.

Combine the meat, rice, salt and pepper. Place a rounded Tbsp of meat mixture (or more if leaf is larger) on each leaf. Roll leaves from rib end, tucking in ends, to make bundles. Place bundles in pan.

Mix tomato soup and paste; dilute with cabbage water until you have enough liquid to cover bundles. Cover pan with aluminum foil or glass cover. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

I haven't made these since becoming Primal, but I think the recipe would be easy to adapt and wouldn't suffer for it. Drop the rice, use canned tomatoes rather than soup. I've even used other ground meats. So, play with it and make it your own...and enjoy!

How I View My Navy Wife Life

Do you remember a little song that goes something like this:

"You've got to ac-cen-tuate the positive,
e-lim-inate the negative,
hold on to the affirmative.
Don't mess with Mr. In-Between."

I think if I were to make a mix tape of songs that speak to me I'd have to put this one on there. I know what you're thinking...a tape? It just sounds better to me than a mix CD. Maybe I could call it a mix disc. Can we agree on that? Well, the last song on my mix disc of songs that motivate me would be this little ditty. It's not only a catchy tune...it's the way I try to live my life, including my life as Navy Wife.

Every wife has a different way to handle separation from their spouse. Some methods are definite no-no's. It's never OK to have a replacement waiting in the wings as soon as your hubby gets his sea bag out of the closet, even if he is from the other crew. This does nothing for morale on either crew...not to mention it's not recommended if you want to keep your marriage intact.

Other strategies fall into the grey area for me. Feeling sad when the tug pulls their sub away from shore isn't necessarily a negative, but could easily turn into one.

Now, focusing on the future, on your marriage, on your family, on your goals...that's accentuating the positive in my book. It's not always easy, but it's always my goal.

I had someone come up to me recently and tell me how she was going to be opening a bottle of wine and crying herself through her anniversary while her husband was out to sea. I suggested maybe trying some other way to celebrate such a wonderful day. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to hear me.

So, I'm putting this out there for all of you. One of the things that always keeps me going when Scott isn't here is remembering that he picked me. He jokes that marrying the girl down the road was easier than dating, but he did date others. He even considered lives with others. But he picked me. He chose me to be his wife, believing that I have what it takes to not only survive a military life, but thrive in it. And I do. In part, my successes can be credited to his support of me. But I also take some credit for myself.

When it comes to our marriage and how it relates to Scott's job in the Navy, realistic optimism is the name of my game. Scott doesn't butter coat the details of his schedule. If he's going to be working weekends for a month, I know about it as soon as he knows about it. If he has to work not only past the kids' bed time but ours as well, I know it ahead of time if possible. And with the very real possibility of last minute changes in his harried schedule, a little bit of go-with-the-flow is essential to mix into our planning ways. This all helps us be realistic in our goals.

Then it's up to us to be focused on solutions and what's positive. That means when Scott's not around for a birthday or an anniversary I might use that opportunity to write him a special letter about how amazed I still am with him. I might have a glass of wine, but it would be while reminiscing with photo albums or having dinner with friends. I might do something crafty with the kids and talk about love and marriage, and their father. Part of how I deal with missing Scott is to admit it and deal with it, but with my eye on the prize...we'll see him again in however many days, we've been married however many years...and always with the reality in mind that missing him is temporary.

All this said, I still get giddy when I see his number on the caller ID. I still get misty eyed when I read a card he's sent or left for me. I still have down days where my mix disc is full of sad love songs. But I don't mess with these perfectly normal and reasonable in-between emotions. I hold on to the affirmative...that Scott chose me to be his wife and share his life in the Navy and his life outside of it.

Feel free to borrow my theme song for your own. I think it's a great one!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ready, Set....GO!

Once I started thinking about homeschooling I started thinking about schooling year round. Shh...don't tell my kids! They're excited about homeschooling, but I don't think they be thrilled about doing it all year...unless they don't know about it. And, I'm sneaky.

I quickly decided that our first few units would be based on things we're up to this summer. I wasn't sure when I wanted to start them, though. Part of me still thought I should wait until the fall. See, even I have a hard time breaking out of the "box" sometimes. Different scenarios kept swimming through my head, though, and I have finally decided to start sooner...like now.

Well, not right now...my pupils are in bed. But I will be doing things here and there to work our way into our new roles gradually. We're all excited, but we've never had a student/teacher relationship and I imagine that'll be a little awkward every now and then until we get the hang of it. Here's what I'm planning thus far...

Tonight we worked on number order with Gracie by putting our new Wildlife Explorer cards into the binders. Every month we get a bunch of cards to add to the ones we already have. They don't come in order. The binders are organized into eight groups and there are varying numbers of cards in each group. Tonight Jace found all the Group 1 cards and organized them and Gracie got interested. So, Jace and Gracie worked together to organize the Group 2 cards. I put in my two cents every so often (Jace was a bit bossy in his helpfulness) but they did pretty well together. During this little exercise they were dealing with three digit numbers, practicing team work, and Gracie learned the definition of digit...at least we told her what it meant. We'll see if it stuck tomorrow.

We're going to St. Augustine this weekend and have started learning a little about the city. (I learned a good lesson here. I should pre-read any books I plan on reading with the kids. Even though I found a book about St. Augustine's history in the juvenile fiction section of the library there was a rather detailed description of how a Spanish conquistador tied up and stabbed 200 French explorers. Nice, huh? Thankfully I saw it coming and summarized.)

We're going to do a slow study on horses before Memorial Day weekend, when we'll be visiting with my brother-in-law and his soon-to-be-wife, who have horses.

For Gracie's birthday we're going to incorporate a trip to a butterfly garden. A unit on Butterflies is being planned. I'll probably start some of it in New York while we're there this summer. It'll overlap a bit with our unit on National Monuments and Landmarks. We'll be visiting Washington DC and (hopefully) Mt. Rushmore during out move this summer. I have some reading, coloring, and other activities the kids can work on at hotels and in the van to learn about what we'll be seeing and get excited to see it! Both of these units we'll finish after settling into our new home in Washington.

I probably won't get into a solid, daily schooling routine until August. By then, though, we'll have had some time to see how we work together as a homeschooling family.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Sweet Pea

Scott gave Gracie the nickname "Sweet Pea" when she was first born. Over the years she has been called different pet names, but Sweet Pea has always stuck. She's going to turn five in 57 days!

I remember when she was born. Her labor was five hours long, first contraction to "It's a girl!" That was exhausting! During one of my contractions I grabbed the side of the bed and then yelled for them to stop folding the bed up on me. My dear husband ever so gently told me I needed to let go of the button - I was doing it. That's one brave man! Now I see how funny I must have been, but at the time I just wanted a nap and to have the baby later! But then there was Gracie...precious and beautiful.
I had so much fun with my new little sweet pea and her goofy big brother. Here they are for Gracie's first Halloween. I decided they'd both be dogs...and aren't they adorable?
I was amazed as her little personality started to shine. In some ways she was so different from Jace. And so different from her father and I. We frequently wonder where she gets her girlyness from!
I think maybe I was a little girl once, but at some point I decided I was a tomboy and went with that. Being a mother to Gracie has helped me see myself in a different light again. It's allowed me to realize my role as a girl and a woman...that's there's more than just mom in me. She's incredible in all that she teaches me!
Like in this picture, for example. Here Gracie is clearly demonstrating how I waddled when pregnant with her little brother. It's hard to tell, but she had her belly pushed forward and moaned and groaned her way through the grocery store! What's that they say about imitation and flattery?
The older she gets, the more I really do see of myself in her. Yesterday she was telling me about the two sets of twins she's going to have when she's older. All four children will be girls and the names she has picked out are Flower, Love, Heart, and Annie (that's my name!). I had some interesting names picked out for my future kids too...Gracie was the only one that I actually used and Scott and I picked that one together. For years, Gracie was our dream child...hmmmm.
OK, she is a dream. Occasionally she stresses me out, but mostly she makes me smile.
During the past few months she's been coming into her own even more. She loves helping out whenever she can, at school and home. She expresses her sense of style in her clothes and does
her own hair, except here...she let me do it for Crazy Hair Day! But I love this picture because you can see her joy! She's bubbly and brilliant. To illustrate my point, I'll share with you a wonderful observation she made this morning:
"It's really hard to be a mama. You have to get everybody up...and that takes a long time. You have to get your kids drinks and snacks and run around after them. It's hard work. I mean, mama's have to yell at their kids all the time! When I'm a mom I'm going to yell at my girls and make them breakfast too. It's gonna be hard work but I'll take a nap."
I think she's ready, don't you? Ready for something! That's for sure...I'm just not sure any of us are ready for her, our little Sweet Pea.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Be Nice To Me

I gave blood today. I remember my dad used to come home with heart shaped stickers that said "Be nice to me I gave blood today." How come I don't get those? Hmmm... I do get smiley face bandages wrapped around my arm. So, that's cool...I guess. But you should be nice to me anyway!

Aside from letting you know that little piece of info, I also wanted to say welcome to all my new followers!


I do believe the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 is still going on at 5 Minutes For Mom. (It is...I just checked.) But even when it's over and you can't add your blog to the list you can still weed through the 1000's of blogs that are already there and find some new e-friends. I know that I'm excited to get new followers (including my husband...a special hello to you) and I'm guess that other bloggers are too. I've been taking a few minutes each night to go back to the UBP post and visit a few new blogs...some catch my eye and others don't...but it's great fun.

Another little tid bit I'll let you in on is that the kids and I are heading North earlier than originally expected. I just filled out the withdrawal form today at Jace's school and we'll be in New York by his birthday. He's one very excited little boy! Oops, sorry...big boy! Now we just have to decide what his cake will be this year.

Here's a look at years past:

Whale Shark (6)

Monkey (4)

Trucks (3)
So, what will happen for the big 7? We don't know yet...but it'll be something fun. No doubt about it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Learn Something New Every Day

I think we should always try to learn something new every day, don't you? Well today I learned several things...so if you haven't feel free to borrow one of mine!

1. "People should never eat anything off of knives or swords." Gracie
2. They can tighten the wheels on roller skates so that they turn slower. Good thing too. It's hard work trying to keep a 50-something pound almost 7 year old standing on wheels that turn fast! Jace did great once we slowed him down. (He went roller skating for the first time at a friend's birthday party today. He was the only little boy there, too...he knows how to work it, doesn't he!)
3. Hormonal changes during a woman's menstrual cycle can also effect her bowel movements. That's all I'll say about that...but if you're intrigued go ahead and google it!
4. Tyler's not big enough to sit on the bench and lean back against the table like everyone else...fell and smacked the back of his head. Ouch! That boy is never going to be able to shave his head.
5. As soon as you say "you can't use the water" everyone has to go pee "really bad."
6. "Eating and drinking are alike except with drinking you don't use your teeth and with eating you have to chew. But with both you swallow and then it goes through your body then makes potty." Gracie (Is it just me or does "goes though your body then makes potty" sound like a great bumper sticker or something?)
7. Navy Seals are between 17 and 35 years old. Jace shared this with me. He learned it in a book that he just read about Seals. He thought maybe Dada would want the information in case he wanted to try being a Seal for the next couple of years.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head...but there's still six minutes until bedtime. I'm sure they'll teach me something else between now and then!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Found something new...and very cool! Let me tell you about it (the new and cool thing) and a little about myself.

I'll start with me...I'm a stay at home Navy wife and well-educated mama. My husband and I grew up a mile from one another and got married after I graduated from college. I have a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and now I'm a mom and wife. I have almost 10 years under my belt as a military spouse, almost 7 as a mom.
We have three children. Jace is our oldest. He'll be 7 next month. He just got a 40 chapter book from his school library to read over the weekend. When he dove into his back pack to get it to read on the way home and found he'd forgotten it -he cried. Thankfully we were able to stop by and pick it up after picking his sister up at her preschool. Jace's personality is a mixture of high energy rascal and eager learner, with a touch of little boy still visible from time to time.
Gracelyn (Gracie) is our precious middle child, two months shy of turning five. She's joyful, stylish and loves to be helpful! However, if the girl is tired...watch out! Talk about moody! (By the way, this picture doesn't display Gracie's normal style. She's wearing her cousin's shorts, who is almost two years younger, and a sweater we keep in the car that was bought off the clearance rack even though it's two sizes too big because she always complains about being cold! I love it though - she's still posing.)
The littlest monkey is Tyler. He's an agitator, like any little brother should be, and stubborn like his father. He's got the most terrific smile, complete with dimples. As an almost-Christmas baby he gets to celebrate his half-birthday over the summer when he'll be 2 1/2.
That's the crew. With my spare time I blog about our lives - mostly the kid's antics, my observations about random things, our health and fitness goals, and my newest venture as a homeschooling mom. I enjoy writing, being in the kitchen, watching reality TV and long walks on the beach. Actually they don't even have to be on a beach...walks anywhere are great!
So, now that you know about me (at least a little) feel free to read other posts if you're intrigued. If not, that's OK too. Either way, there's more to this post, remember? Something new and cool. Well, it's the blog party!
Susan and Janice at 5 Minutes For Mom are hosting this incredible party to help blogger and non-bloggers alike meet each other and maybe even win things in the process! See...I wouldn't let you down.
You can click here to go to their post about this year's blog party. There are over 900 links to other blogs where people have introduced themselves. You'll find humor, emotion, faith, joy, and more stories than you can handle. You'll also find a link to the prize list and the rules for entering the drawings. Here are some of the things I'd love to win:
95. 0r 11. $100 gift card to Restaurants.com, given by two different contributors.
39. $250 night away at any Hilton Garden Inn
112. $50 gift card to Amazon.com (or any of the other Amazon.com gift cards!)
24. "Dahlia" framed photo
75. $100 gift card to Summit Camping Gear
There are so many more...clothes, toys, gift cards, decorations, relaxation aids, books...go look and enter for yourself!
I'll let you go on now. Not because I'm out of things to say (I can blah, blah, blah for days) but because I want to go meet some other bloggers and take 5 minutes for me!

Amazon Gift Card

Who can't use $20 at Amazon.com? I mean...Scott could buy half a text book! More likely I'd use it for some cool homeschooling resource, but I could give it to Scott...

We'll debate it more if I actually win it! And how might I win it? By blogging about the give-away here and leaving a comment that I did so at The Homeschool Classroom. So, that's what I'm doing!

If you're interested in a $20 gift card at Amazon.com check out the link above. There are several ways to enter, and done of them are tough! So get to it!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Need I Say More?

The books we brought home from one trip to the library.
Impressive, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Little About Me

When I wrote my profile for this blog I paid attention to the order I put down Navy wife, mother, and then writer. I've made this conscious decision when describing myself in other places as well. I don't know if it's because I'm me (a deep thinker, decently in touch with my inner self) that I put the roles that have others depending on me first, or if it's because they depend on me and I put myself last. It's something to think about.

And thinker should probably be first on my list of labels.

But as it's written now, my roles as Navy wife and mother are among my most important. But they don't stand alone. If Annie isn't nurtured someplace in the mix than I'm not going to be able to be the wife and mother I strive to be. What's that saying about a tangled web? This tangle is based not on lies, though. But on truths, priorities, and love.

So, now that that's cleared up...what about Annie? What words describe me? Back in the day "unique" was frequently used. I used to dress in my Grandmother's hand-me-downs. I didn't wear them because they were all that was available to me, but because I liked the styles and colors. And I loved that they were hers. I had a favorite dress in college we fondly called "the oil spill dress." It wasn't one of Grandmas, but I loved it! It was fake velvet and colorful. I also wore my slippers to class and the grocery store. I frequently fashioned scarves into dickeys to be worn under sweaters. I certainly had my own fashion sense.

I've realized over the past few years that my creative style was just the beginning. I like things that are different. I like to take something and make something else from it. My medium used to be clothing, and might be again some day, but has also been paint on walls, pencil to paper, and currently fingers to keyboard!

When I was at 4H camp each summer we used to play an ice-breaking game where we had to introduce ourselves using an adjective that began with the same letter as our name. I always cleverly said, "Hello. I'm all of the above Annie." I think it still fits, don't you?

Unique. Creative. Clever. Mother. Wife. Colorful. Nurturer. Thoughtful. Me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Not Me! Monday...Spring Break Edition

I'm not a consistent contributor to MckMama's Not Me! Monday series, but this week I've got a few things to deny.

Let's see...we went to Florida this past week to impose on....er, um, I mean visit with my college roommate, her family, and her brother's family. We had an incredible time! We really did...but I didn't give in when it came to souvenirs. I didn't get Tyler (who already has a ton of trucks) a whole new set of 5 Cars vehicles and a new rescue truck from SeaWorld. Gracie and Jace got some fun things too...don't fret!

Well, maybe fret a little. I did...er, um, I mean didn't lose two of my three children at SeaWorld. Technically Tyler didn't even know he was lost, so that doesn't count. Gracie knew...cried...wouldn't let go of my hand for a few minutes...but I brought everyone home at the end of the day.

While on vacation I didn't give in to poor diet and lack of sleep. I didn't stay up hours past my bedtime to chit chat almost every night. It wasn't worth every filling-showing yawn I had throughout the week, not to mention the cups of sugar and caffeine I drank, to visit with such great people. I wouldn't do it again next week if the option were there. Heck, I wouldn't do it again every other week for a whole year...well, I might actually not want to do that...we might run out of things to say!

Anyway...now that we're back home, I haven't put off doing laundry for two days. I'm not still trying to catch up on the dishes that I'd left undone before our trip. I didn't make a to-do list today just so I could feel accomplished at something!

Long live not regretting vacations...or life in general!

Now go visit MckMama's site and see what other people aren't up to...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Break

Our vacation in pictures...
Gracie after the big wave:And after we scrounged and found a pair of Liam's shorts (he just turned 3!) and a sweater that Gracie leaves in the van for grocery shopping (she always gets cold). The really funny thing is that just a few hours earlier I was saying how there were certain things my daughter would never wear in my presence. Hmm... The McPhee Family

Jace on a climbing wall at the playground.

A pirate comedy show with sea lions, a walrus, and a cute and quick otter!

Liam and Tyler waiting for the Shamu show to start.
Tyler entertaining himself in the lunch line.

The Dinosaur Restaurant at Downtown Disney.

Digging at the archaeological site while waiting to eat lunch.

Sean and Jace...quick friends. (Sean just turned 8 last month. Jace will be 7 in two months.)

The dolphin show:
This has got to be one of my favorite pictures.

Even the boys were intrigued.

As you can plainly see...we had SO much fun. Tyler got to say "baby" quite often with Claire (1 year old) and Sarah (8 weeks) around. He also got pretty good at "juice," "boat," and "play." He's been saying play quite often lately, but this past week it's become even more intelligible.
Gracie loved being a helper for Claire and Liam. She's already made plans to live near Uncle Mike and Aunt Cathy when she's older. And Jace's favorite thing about our entire trip was the cotton candy he got to eat at the whale show!